All aboard, let’s take a train ride around Fort Wilderness. As a kid we stayed at Fort Wilderness every year on our trip to Walt Disney World. With only the Magic Kingdom to pass the time we spent a lot of time at the campground. One of my favorite activities was to board the Fort Wilderness Railroad and just ride around. For $1 you could ride all day, and believe me I got my money worth.
The train ran through the entire area of Fort Wilderness at the time, but the best part was that it was the mode of transportation from the parking area to Pioneer Hall, such a better experience on your way to Hoop Dee Doo than the buses we have today.
The track was 3 ½ miles, over twice the length than what can be found at the Magic Kingdom and cost over $1 million dollars to build. The trains were steam powered and were decorated in red, green, and gold colors. Each train was about 115 feet long and could carry around 90 guests.
We loved to ride the train, but they only were around for a few years. They started operation in 1973 and closed in 1977. Why such short lived, there are many thoughts around this. The trains were often stranded on the tracks when they ran out of water or fuel. The capacity of these trains for both was very limited causing refuels at each stop, if this was not done then the train would become stranded on the tracks. The tracks themselves were either poorly built or due to the terrain shifting which lead to derailments. On other thought which I experienced for sure was that the train ran from 7 am to 11 pm. The tracks were not far from the campsites, so imagine a train whistle waking you up at 7 in the morning or trying to get your kids to bed at night.